As a parent, it is essential to give the right care to children and ensure that they have the happiest childhood. It is also your responsibility to ensure they learn the right values and morals and grow up to become respected, valued members of society.
Besides these, it is also imperative you raise your children to be caring and compassionate humans.
Here are a few effective ways you and your little one’s caregivers can achieve this end.
15 Tips For Taking Care Of Children
Taking care of a child is no easy job. These tips should make the task a little easier on you and your child’s caregivers.
1. Improve your child’s self-image
The child first starts building a self-image based on how they feel their parents perceive them. They unconsciously pick up the tone of your voice, your body language, and your expressions when you interact with them and determine how you feel about them.
Never use derogatory words near them, and never compare them with others. Make sure you do not make your child think they are worthless. Show them they are important to you and that you love them for the unique person they are. Allow them to make their own decisions and listen to them attentively when they communicate with you to give their self–confidence a healthy boost.
2. Make communication a priority
Make sure conversations with children are a regular part of your life so that you know how they perceive the things happening in their life and how they react to them. With an adult, you would generally explain why you need something done and offer clarifications if they are doubtful. Children deserve a similar communication strategy.
Do not issue commands and expect them to fall in line just because you are the parent. Instead, offer solutions, discuss how they feel about something, and then come up with solutions together, so they become part of the process. This encourages them to follow through voluntarily. Have meaningful conversations every day — ask what they did, how they handled a particular situation, whether someone did something nice for them at school, etc.
3. Compliment your children
How does your child know they have done something right or that you approve of their actions or responses? Complimenting them is one simple, effective way of immediately communicating to the child that what they have done is worthy of appreciation and is the right response to a situation. Use positive reinforcement to reward good behavior and replace criticism with a compliment.
For example, if the child has failed to brush their teeth, instead of criticizing them, compliment them on how they got up on their own the previous day and brushed without being told. Make it a habit to pay them compliments, so they clearly know which behavior or action is desired from them.
4. Provide a suitable environment
A nurturing, safe, comfortable environment at home helps the child bloom into the best version of themselves. Create a safe zone with no risks so that you do not have to restrict them from doing what they wish to do. The child should also feel confident that they can play or explore at home without fear of injury. Educate them about what can harm them and what cannot and set reasonable, practical rules that are easy for them to follow. Review the home environment periodically and see if it is comfortable for the child.
5. Make time for your children
To influence your child in the right way, you need to spend enough time with them. Plan parent-child time as a part of each day’s schedule. You could play, tell stories, or take them to the park. Irrespective of the activity, ensure you do have these built into the day’s plan regularly.
Even if you are a working parent, you can ensure that mealtimes are spent together and are an opportunity for communicating with each other. You can also organize weekend picnics or surprise trips to places they will love. These sessions help you get a glimpse of how your child responds, thinks, and feels about various situations and allow you to demonstrate the behaviors you wish to see in them.
6. Expand your child’s circle of concern
Children have an inherent urge to cooperate and help others. Parents are responsible for teaching children that it is not just family members who deserve their empathy but also others. Expand the child’s circle of concern beyond the family so that they become more inclusive in their thinking and more compassionate with non-family members. Do not restrict it to just people; you could also teach your child to show concern for all living creatures and the planet at large.
7. Be a role model
Children tend to mirror your attitude and behavior. Be very careful about your responses, actions, and words when you are around them. Display the kind of behavior and reactions that you want them to exhibit in different situations.
Small things such as offering help to a sick neighbor, feeding strays in your street, or refusing to do something unfair can positively impact children and help you raise a compassionate, ethical child.
8. Develop a caring and loving relationship with them
When you have a caring, loving relationship with them, they learn to build relationships the same way. A caring, loving bond also ensures that the child gets closely attached to you and looks up to you. What you say or do has a profound, long-lasting impact on the child. They tend to take it more seriously when you, and not someone else, tell them to do something or behave in a certain way.
9. Provide opportunities for children to practice caring and gratitude
Practice makes perfect, and when it comes to making your child a caring, compassionate person, this adage holds true. Set a good example and help them practice by taking them along when you volunteer for social causes or get them to choose their own causes.
Let them make it a ritual to put aside toys they no longer need and give them away to the less privileged. You could also bring a pet home and involve the child in caring for them. Educate them on how the pet expresses happiness or trust and compliment the child on keeping the pet happy and safe.
10. Help children develop self-control and manage feelings
Strong feelings such as jealousy, anger, sorrow, or fear can overwhelm children. To keep a rein on these, teach your child self-control, impulse control, movement control, and emotional control techniques.
Here is how you can help:
- Help your child express their feelings when they act out.
- Explain why their response is wrong and how a different response would work better.
- Encourage them to understand that hurting others is not a solution to a problem.
Studies suggest that better self-control is linked to greater success later in life, so this is an essential skill you can impart to your child (1).
11. Establish boundaries and discipline them
It is essential to discipline your child to keep their behaviors in check. Establish clear boundaries, and let your child know which behavior is appropriate and which is not. Also, know when to be strict with them and when not to.
12. Be adaptable
Every child is different and has a unique personality. What works for one may not work for another. This is why you should be able to adapt your parenting style to your child’s personality. Maybe your expectations from the child are too high, and so they are unable to match up.
Often, parents fail to understand the perceptions of children, which creates a big gap between what they want to communicate to the child and what the child takes away. For example, a parent who wishes to be strict and always keeps a stern face with a vulnerable child may make the little one feel unloved instead of disciplining them. Also, keep in mind that the parenting style that works now may fail a couple of years later as the child grows.
13. Model positive action
Instead of telling your child what you expect of them in a situation, show them by doing it yourself. Remember that the child mimics you, so when you demonstrate the appropriate solution or response, the child picks it up more quickly and with less resistance. This works well not just when resolving specific behavior patterns but also when teaching the child a habit of looking out for others or factoring in the impact of their actions on others.
A simple strategy is to include them in volunteering. As they see you caring for others and doing something for others, they will model their behavior on the same lines.
14.Treat your child with respect
You wish your child to treat everyone with respect, but often, you may forget to give the same treatment to the child. Always remember that the child is a human with emotions, frustrations, desires, and also their own ego. Never put them down in front of others or in private. Never contradict them outright without giving them a reason for your decision.
Informing them beforehand of the rules during playtime, telling them when playtime ends, allowing them to explain themselves when they have done something you disapprove of — all these demonstrate that you respect them as individuals. Your child is likely to follow the same pattern when interacting with others.
15. Acknowledge kindness
Always let the child know that you have noticed their kindness and are proud of them for showing it. Highlight their kind actions. Elucidate what it was and also mention why you find it praiseworthy. For example, “I saw you helped your friend with her bag. That was so nice of you.” This way, the child knows the exact action that is being approved of and the desired impact they should aim for. Also, let the child see you acknowledge kindness from others so that they offer kindness and appreciate it when it is shown to them.
Caring for a child is one of the toughest challenges a parent faces. Inculcating ethical values, moral strength, compassion, and kindness in children takes perseverance and time. You need to understand how to do it in the most effective ways, and we hope these tips help you care for your child in the most effective way.
1. Sudi Kate Gliebe;The Development of Self-Control in Young Children; Lutheran Education Journal (2011).